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Budding ‘dragons’ to get helping hand

Press release   •   Oct 24, 2013 12:08 BST

Rochdale’s budding entrepreneurs are set for a big boost, thanks to an enterprising scheme being launched in libraries next year.

Local residents interested in starting their own business will be able to get help and support from libraries across Rochdale, thanks to the award of funding to Greater Manchester’s Start Up Engines project.

Currently in the planning stage, enterprising residents will be able to access a wide range of information through a virtual ‘flatpack’, which will offer all the help a prospective businessperson could need to turn their ideas into reality including how-to guides, strategy ideas, free web tools and apps.

The project will also help Rochdale's libraries to become business hubs, with residents offered the chance to use their libraries to meet up and exchange ideas, either by using available meeting spaces or virtually, through the creation of online enterprise communities.

In addition, a programme of 50 events across Greater Manchester, five of which will be held in Rochdale, are being planned to bring top business brains to the area to act as role models for the next generation.

Councillor Peter Williams, Rochdale Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Customer Services, said: “Our libraries are the perfect place for anyone who would like to start their own business and would like practical help on the nuts and bolts of getting their business off the ground. Not only will they will be able to meet likeminded people they will be able to access high quality information and expert advice.”

The project is being funded through a joint bid by Greater Manchester’s ten authorities for £45,000 from Arts Council England and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Budding businesspeople can also get top tips at the upcoming Rochdale Festival of Literature and Ideas which features a talk by successful Dragon's Den candidate and award winning designer, inventor and businessman Mark Champkins. Mark Champkins - ‘What I have learnt about how to think up new product ideas and turn them into reality’ is at Rochdale Library on Friday 25 October at 7.15pm. Tickets can be booked online at

About Mark Champkins

Mark Champkins, who is a former British Inventor of the Year, runs Concentrate - a company that designs and manufactures products to help children focus better in the classroom. Mark is perhaps best known for his success in the BBC2 television programme Dragons' Den. He pitched the company on the show and won backing from multi-millionaire Peter Jones.

Mark was the first Inventor in Residence at the Science Museum in London creating quirky products such as levitating cutlery and word count pencils. Last year he was commissioned to design Stephen Hawking a 70th birthday present, and created the ‘Black Hole Light’ which represents the path light would take falling into a black hole.

As well as his own ground-breaking innovations, he is author of The Big Book of Celebrity Inventions published in 2011, which describes the inventions that prominent public figures such as Marlon Brando, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Jackson and Steve McQueen designed and patented.

Rochdale Council - A council which builds success and prosperity with our citizens and partners, whilst protecting our vulnerable people.

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